Sean Farnel (pictured) is stepping down as director of programming at Hot Docs, North America’s largest documentary festival, after six years in the role.
Unveiling the news in a personal blog post, Farnel said he did not yet have a next job lined up, but was looking forward to having “some room to roam” and being a “free agent” for a while. Hot Docs has not yet named a successor for the job.
In his post, Farnel paid tribute to Hot Docs and the staff who work there. “As Hot Docs’ first director of programming my primary goals were to develop and instil a programming culture within the organization – having come from the world’s best at TIFF [the Toronto International Film Festival] – and to work with the team there to take a well-regarded regional event to the next level, in terms of both public and industry profile,” he wrote.
“Few, if any, international film festivals have enjoyed more growth then Hot Docs since 2005. Having just announced another record event, with over 150,000 admissions and a 24% increase in earned revenues, the festival has more then tripled its audience over the past six years.
“With that, Hot Docs is now a close second to IDFA as the world’s largest documentary film festival. The festival has become one of Toronto’s most significant and beloved cultural events.”
Prior to joining Hot Docs, Farnel programmed documentaries at the Toronto International Film Festival for six years.